Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Doug Batchelor opposes women as pastors and elders

It is always for me at least a humorous experience to fact check Doug Batchelor. I sometimes think that is why he calls his ministry “Amazing Facts” because half of his so called facts are incorrect and the other half we are amazed he got right. He does however carry on the Adventist tradition of evangelists whose information is usually biased to develop a particular response in the audience rather then really make the audience think or give them accurate information.

So going through a transcribed copy of one of his sermons provided by Adventist Today is simply too hard to resist. I also think that for many Adventists there is a convoluted view of tradition intertwined in the Genesis story that makes it difficult for Adventists to know what is actually from the Bible and what is not. In this article I will only use the King James Version of the Bible so that the Bible version will be acceptable to even the most fundamentalist of Adventists.

From the Second paragraph (Batchelor’s quotes in blue):

…But God named Adam. God brought Adam’s wife from his side. Adam named Eve. Adam was looking among all the creatures, he noticed they all had their pairs, but there was something missing. So woman came to be the help mate for man to really be the completeness of God’s creation of man in his own image.

Actually there is no record of God naming Adam. Adam is actually not intended as a proper name but means red or earth. From the Jewish Encyclopedia:

The etymology of the word "Adam" is of importance. The writer of Gen. ii. 7 gives his own explanation when he says: "God formed man of dust of the ground." That is to say, the man was called "Man" or "Adam" because he was formed from the ground (adamah). Compare Gen. iii. 19…

A closer examination of the narrative will show that the word is primarily used in a generic sense, and not as the name of an individual. In Gen. i. its use is wholly generic. In Gen. ii. and iii. the writer weaves together the generic and the personal senses of the word. In all that pertains to the first man as the passive subject of creative and providential action the reference is exclusively generic. Indeed, it is doubtful whether "Adam" as a proper name is used at all before Gen. iv. 25 (J) and v. 3 (P). Here the same usage is manifest: for in the two opening verses of chap. v. the word is used generically. It may also be observed that the writer in Gen. ii., iii. always says "the man" instead of "Adam," even when the personal reference is intended, except after a preposition, where, however, a vowel has probably been dropped from the text.

As regards Eve, Batchelor is a little closer to being accurate as the Bible says
: (Gen 3:20 KJV) And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. This is interesting as the name has nothing to do with being a helpmate but is based upon the idea that she was the mother of all living. Though if one were to take the Genesis story in a literal timeline Eve was not the mother of anyone at the time. It is certainly over-reaching to say that a man needs to have a woman to be complete in the image of God (after all that seems to depart from what Paul has to say) I would say that Batchelor there is a bit confused. By the story both male and female are complete in themselves and created after the image of God.

(Gen 1:27 KJV) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

But you see in the beginning, right after the temptation and sin entered our world that trouble began, when woman wandered from man’s side and then, she instead of listening to the clear instructions she had received from the Lord and from her husband not to take from that forbidden tree, she independently made a different decision.

Wandered from the man’s side? That is not part of the Bible story is it? No it is not there at all in fact in the story Adam was with her.

(Gen 3:6 KJV) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Then she brings it to her husband and offers it to him and man now [defers] to his wife; instead

of leading, he submits. And he takes her advice and all the problems that you see in the world today, both in our relationships and in the world, spring from this interruption of God’s design for the relationship between God and man and woman.

Just a bit more reinterpreting the story to have Eve bring Adam the fruit instead of Adam being with her at the tree as the Bible story indicated. Once you have reinterpreted the story in such a way it becomes easy to assume that God’s original order in the story was that woman submit to man even though that is later defined in one of the curses for the sin. But as I have said accuracy is not high on the priority list of evangelists.

(Gen 3:16 KJV) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

At this point we find that Batchelor is not getting the information from the Bible but from Ellen White:

“…you can read about this by the way in the book Patriarchs and Prophets, page 53 and 54; “The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden. With him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task she unconsciously wandered from his side. Sin came into our world as a result of man neglecting and women disregarding the husband’s leadership role.”

What is interesting to me here is that Batchelor has used the Ellen White’s version of the Genesis story instead of the Bible version and yet Ellen White was a woman who according to Adventist tradition was called by God to be a prophet when the first two men God called refused to fulfill the role. Speaking of women and culture Batchelor states:

“And I think what you’re seeing in the church has been a reflection of what’s been happening in our culture. Where because there has been a vacuum of leadership among the men both in society and in the church. That wherever there is a vacuum of leadership something will flow in and take its place. And women have been flowing in to fill the vacuum. Now that has led beyond what the Bible, I believe, teaches us what’s appropriate.”

In effect he is saying what I am telling you happened in Eden is actually taken from the teachings of an inappropriate source. If only he realized what he was saying, but that may be another of the hallmarks of evangelists. Although perhaps I should look at this as Batchelor as a Pastor, since that is how the sermon was intended. It is just that realizing his roots and his main ministry help explain so much of what he says, but I am sure there are numerous Adventist pastors who are just as inattentive to the facts as Doug Batchelor.

Batchelor then says the following but cuts off, though it is really funny to think how his mind must work:

“…By the way, the word seminary comes from the same word as semen. So it’s interesting that you’ve got so many women in the seminary studying for – that’s just where the root of the word is…”

The word comes from the Latin for seed but through that little twist and the context of women in the seminary verses the majority of men in a seminary he distorts the meaning from seed to the fluid from male reproductive organs containing spermatozoa. Technically neither man or woman have seeds in the reproductive tracts and each is required for the process.

Origin of Seminary from
“1400–50; late ME: seed plot, nursery < href="">semen + -ārium -ary

I did find a portion that I actually agree with Batchelor on. That is the labeling of ordained and commissioned pastors. Still it is only limited agreement since the whole concept of ordained pastors is not Biblical anyway as it came out of the Roman Catholic system when they were attempting to have one Bishop per city. Batchelor says:

“They call it commissioned but it’s really the same thing as being ordained as pastors. And it’s… you know you can call it commissioned but in every other way it’s the same as ordination with all the rights, privileges. It’s like Abraham Lincoln used to say, ‘you can call a dog’s tail a leg, but it’s still a tail.’ And so just changing the label of something doesn’t change the definition of it.”

Granted he gets Lincolns quote wrong but the label commissioned vs. ordained is meaningless except for the denominations monetary reimbursements. Oh and Lincoln’s actual quote: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.”

A little later he actually gets into his Biblical arguments; which I am not going to deal with. I just wanted to point out the factual errors and assumptions which he uses as his foundations. There is really no controversy that in ancient times the patriarchal society dominated most of the world and that it is reflected in both the Old and New Testaments. The question today is does the methods of the past dictate our future, does the culture of the past represent God determined order or the reality of male dominance in past societies. The other question that should be answered is what does leadership in the New Testament represent? Is it anything like what we practice today by Pastors and Ministers? What has tradition produced in the Christian church? One thing you can be sure of with pastors like Doug Batchelor you will not hear the above questions fairly examined. Though you may hear some amazing false facts used to support his understanding of things, but then when your understanding is based upon false information and interpretations is it really an understanding at all.

Update here is the link to the video since we have mentioned it in the comments section:

Women Pastors: A Biblical Perspective


Anonymous said...

thanks for taking the time to prepare this analysis. very interesting.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Batchelor's first quote from Ellen White also underpins his argument that women are to be led by men. The trouble is that his Patriarchs and Prophets page 53,54 quote is wrong. He says “…you can read about this by the way in the book Patriarchs and Prophets, page 53 and 54; “The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden. With him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task she unconsciously wandered from his side." The above is correct but the kicker phrase is not there on page s 53,54 - it seems to be a Batchelor invention "Sin came into our world as a result of man neglecting and women disregarding the husband’s leadership role.” If you watch him read this out you would swear that the last sentence was aslo Ellen White but it isn't it is all Doug.
Ellen White in this passage doesn't mention Adams leadership role over Eve, I wonder why Doug feels he needs to insert words into her mouth? It must have been a mistake - he couldn't be dishonest and lie to prove a point.

Ron Corson said...

I just watched the section of Batchelor reading the EGW quote.You are very correct, it does appear that he was acting as if he was reading the quote when he said: "Sin came into our world as a result of man neglecting and women disregarding the husband’s leadership role.”

However and this is a big out, he is reading from his notes he has placed in his Bible. So what looks like reading from EGW quote is simply him continuing reading his own notes.

Interestingly if you analyze his statement he brackets the Ellen White quote with his own ideas. He begins by saying:
"And he takes her advice and all the problems that you see in the world today, both in our relationships and in the world, spring from this interruption of God’s design for the relationship between God and man and woman."

Actually that is the excuse Adam used. The woman you gave me, the woman said it was the serpent. The problem is always between the human and God, it is not caused by woman driving man to rebel against God.

But then if anyone listens to much of Batchelor they know that he is a master at manipulation and half truth.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Rev. Batchelor when he says women shouldn't be ordained, but I agree with him in the idea that a woman should not be the senior pastor of a church. I know a lot of ordained minister women, but their husbands are also ordained and they work together. The one I knew of whose husband wasn't a pasor was still subject to hear husband and he was there for the decision making.

The Bible says women are to be subject to their own husband, not they are subject to every other man.

Reve Batchelor's arguments do make since.

Anonymous said...

Horrible interpretations to Doug Bachelor's points. Looks like we worried more about semantics rather than the point.

His discussion should have made us think: "what other things have we become heart-hardened about?"

Doug made it very clear that this truth is, in context, the product of man's irresponsibility in not taking on his God-given role. And this irresponsibility was further fueled by the rebellious heart of our most beautifully- made gender.

But by no means does this irresponsibility give God's other requirements leeway for our interpretations. Biblical backing on this subject is as clear as the Cross, the Second Coming, the State of the Dead, and the Sabbath.

The point is, we are to follow God's guidance regardless. Not doing so creates a break down and we are definitely living in a society that shows a "hardness of heart." Jesus replied to the question concerning divorce (paraphrased) "Why did Moses give certificates of divorce," Jesus said, "Because of the hardness of your hearts..." Same principle applies here.

Aside from what may seem like a disorientation in Bachelors choices of inspired writings, Sister White does make clear distinctions on what type of ministry women should undertake, and bids us not to shun the work performed, especially because some of us men are still irresponsibly leading. But in no way does she imply that the role is to be overtaken. If God would have wanted this, it would have been made clear in Scripture and in Sister White's writings.

Ordained or not, the Scriptures are very clear as to our roles in our sinful, fallen state; Adam is the head over Eve.

I love our God and please, I pray that this is not a subject for sore, ill-guided emotion. I think our women are doing an awesome job and I encourage continued dealings in ministry within the framework God set.

Praise God for His overwhelming wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I watched the sermon he gave on ordaining women. I noticed that outside of bible verses, he felt the need to use other “data” to prove a woman is inferior to a man. For example, the IQ differences from that study, physical differences and so fourth. I don't think his comments that women would tend to befriend in a combat situation would go over well with women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan that fought beside their brothers in arms to protect and defend. Soldiers do as they are trained. I was more offended by this and other non biblical assumptions on mental/physical differences than between genders. This is no way to speak to anyone, lumping them with a small study of people to make an all inclusive observation. If he wanted to make the point about the bible’s perspective, why didn’t he just use the bible’s evidence and leave it there if he was confident that it applied to this time? I saw the faces of some of those women listening respectfully to his sermon and they did not look happy. Im sure he will have many supporters and critics, But I feel that something was very wrong about how he went about this. The thing that killed it completely for me was the whole “semen” comment. This was perverted and filthy, totally unworthy of a man of God. It made me question his motive and his interpretation.

Anonymous said...

I am still undecided about this topic. I have done a lot of research lately about it. When paul states that what he says (Regarding women, Tongues etc) is the command of God, what then? I have heard no purely biblical arguments that refutes this passage. It would have been easier if he would not have said it was a command from God then we could say it is Paul's opinion influenced by his time. I have much more research to do on this in time. For now I plan to study and abide by his commandments so that can preach by example. I pray that God will resolve this issue clearly and turn all hearts towards him. God Bless you all in Christ's name!

Isaac said...


Thank God for he is always faithful to deliver messeges to his people using his faithful servants. I think what needs to be done now is for the church to come together through these prayers we are having worldwide and ask God almighty to give us the right answer concerning this issue.

If he allowed it to come out of his servant Doug, he (God) must have a reason. Lets come together with one accord and ask for help from above.

God is faithful to ask all who humble themselves and those who are meek.

On the issue: I think history need to be traced though should be realy relied on if it doesnt tell or relate to the holy scriptures. Theologians should come together and dig this matter well of course in prayers and God will give answers. As far as am concerned I dont see any light on women pastoral roles (wether ordained or commisioned).

It is written God's church will look like sinking but Jesus will carry it through to the end of the journey. Never go out of this church for any reason bretheren.

God bless.


cryford hatuma said...

This reply was done under emotional way and it doesn't match with the ideal of meekness as a result the writer ended up to argue and question the holly spirit by stating that jesus christ abolished the barriers between the role of man and woman on the cross, the fact is that a woman is to be ruled by man as God established. The headship was given to adam and not to both! God bless.

ramesh koka said...

interesting analysis this errors should be asked in bible answers live.but he made it clear than cant give woman cannot give baptism